ROME (Reuters) – Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic left the hospital where he is being treated for leukaemia on Sunday to take charge of his team for their opening Serie A match away to Verona.
The club announced before kickoff that the 50-year-old, who said on July 13 that he had a severe form of the illness but promised to win the battle, would “leave hospital to lead the team at Verona.”
Bologna went ahead in the 15th minute when Nicola Sansone converted a penalty which also left promoted Verona down to 10 men as Pawel Dawidowicz was sent off for the foul on Riccardo Orsolini.
Bologna appeared to be in control until Miguel Veloso equalised out of the blue from a free kick in the 37th minute.
Mihajlovic, one of the sport’s top free kick exponents during his playing days, took over at Bologna halfway through the last season with the team stuck in the relegation zone and performed a remarkable transformation as he led them to a 10th place finish.
A European Cup winner with Red Star Belgrade in 1991 and a Cup Winners’ Cup winner with Lazio in 1999, he also won two Serie A titles and four Italian Cups with Lazio and Inter Milan.
As a coach, he has lead several Italian teams including Sampdoria, AC Milan, Fiorentina and Torino, as well as the Serbia national team between 2012 and 2013.
(Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar)